Embracing Forty: 7 Benefits to Appreciate

Embracing Forty 7 Benefits to Appreciate

Were you born in 1975? Congratulations—you’ve either already turned 40 this year, or you will be turning 40 shortly. I’ll be joining you in a few months, and I’m not at all freaked out by it. Consequently, I’ve been thinking that the stress and disappointment many people feel surrounding this particular birthday is just plain manufactured nonsense. Are you ready to embrace forty and stop the mass-media projection that glorifies our formative twenties and all but puts us out to pasture once we pass thirty-nine?

Growing up, I recall seeing gaudy balloons and cards at party stores that made turning forty seem like some sort of mean joke or punishment. Artwork on greeting cards made it sound like you’d be preparing to enter a nursing home, rather than the most vibrant, honest, successful time of your life.

Young women, take heed. Stop judging older women, as you’ll be one of us soon enough! My peers in your thirties and forties, relax, smile and enjoy your life—it’s pretty awesome, and you’re way cooler now than you were ten years ago.

Here are some thoughts on the benefits of embracing forty:

1. You’re less indecisive

By now, I finally know what I do and do not want. I’m careful about what I purchase, how I spend my time, and the company I keep. There are very few “wishy-washy” moments these days, and I’m grateful the bumpy roads that helped me to arrive here. I’m now okay with disagreeing with people and moving on.

2. You care less about what others think

I take myself out to dinner and concerts, and often hang out at the park alone. I wear what I like and don’t give much thought to brands or trends, as now I really understand that these things don’t matter. I also care less about how people around me choose to perceive me. I like myself, and my loved ones and close friends like me—that’s good enough. I’m no longer an insecure 20-something, and I feel for young women who struggle with their confidence due to lack of experience.

3. You waste less time

I value my time and the time of all around me, as I have a real understanding of the impermanence and precious nature of life. I’ve lost a close relative, and I’m watching my parents age and change. I want to communicate clearly and efficiently, and not toil over the small stuff. Life is a beautiful gift, and we need to acknowledge this. There’s no time for gossiping, being unkind or playing games. Be authentic, be present, and show up ready to fully participate in your life. Also, if you’re blatantly unkind or discourteous, I’ll move on rather than trying to get you to like me. You do you; I’ll do me.

4. You take better care of yourself

I make time for long baths, take idle walks in the fresh air, and always enjoy herbal tea or green juice as a reward. I care about my body; it is indeed a vessel that carries the real me around all day long. I prefer clothes that are comfortable and flattering to those that are flattering alone. I treat myself to pedicures and facials—self-administered, or store bought when my budget allows. I remove myself from harmful situations and no longer spend time with those who might drag me down emotionally and energetically.

5. You are a better friend

I have few close friends, but they’re amazing, generous and talented people who interest and excite me. They inspire me to be a better person and encourage me to keep pursuing my own goals, because they are fired up about their own dreams. I am not spread thin over the dozens of pals I had earlier in life, so I can be more available emotionally to the few good, loyal people in my life today. I also limit the time I spend on social media; 300 “friends” don’t need to know what I’m doing every waking moment.

6. You’re more compassionate

Tonight, I saw a woman on the street begging for help. She sat there with her cardboard sign and kitten, looking dusty, hot and drained. I didn’t know her story, but I know this: we are all here to be of service to each other, to love and help each other. Yes, the world can be a cruel place, but why should we accept this, or worse, contribute to it? I stopped, bought her some food, and gave her the few dollars that were floating around in my purse. It’s compassion that makes you a more beautiful person, not plastic surgery or stupid selfies taken in lingerie to post on social media. Sit up, wake up, and stop worrying about the youth-obsessed media. None of that matters.

7. You value your romantic relationship

I’ve had some pretty atrocious relationships over the years. Some of them were so bad that I went through a phase where I ran the other way when someone expressed interest in having a committed relationship. I have hurt and been hurt, and no longer want any part of that. I’m in a drama-free zone and wish to stay here. I love my partner and value him as an individual who deserves my best, most compassionate presence. Put out your best and it will return tenfold, I promise. Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself so that you can be a more loving, available partner.



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